IBI Supports the Government of Timor-Leste to Import Critical Medical Supplies

Timor-Leste: Customs Reform Project Since 2017, USAID/Timor-Leste’s Customs Reform Project (CRP) has been working with the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL) Customs Authority (CA) and private sector stakeholders to provide support for trade facilitation and domestic resource mobilization. With limited domestic farming and manufacturing infrastructure, Timor-Leste is heavily reliant on trade for the majority of its goods. According to the GOTL, in 2018, the importation of vehicles, construction materials, rice, and other staples amounted to $565 million, while its exports measured close to $46 million. For Timor-Leste, receiving goods quickly, safely, and efficiently is essential. As the prime

Adaptive Approach During COVID19: How ASEAN Policy Implementation (API) is Adjusting its Assistance

Earlier this year, the world was shaken by the emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has affected more than 215 countries all over the world. The emergence of a global pandemic has led countries and states to adjust priorities to make public health central to their international development efforts. In Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, coronavirus has not only had a major impact on ASEAN’s healthcare sector, but on the economy more generally. In the past few months, IBI's USAID/ASEAN Policy Implementation (API) Phase 1 Activity, based in Jakarta, Indonesia had to quickly adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances, which is both a challenge and a positive opportu

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. Such a simple statement. So much more should be obvious. Every person is entitled to respect of their dignity and protection of the law. When basic human rights are violated, the people have the right – indeed the civic duty – to shed light on wrong-doing through peaceful protest. Since its origin in 1996 IBI has been committed to creating a diverse staff who respect and befriend people of every race, ethnicity, religion and gender preference as they work to improve people’s opportunities in life throughout the world. It is not an ideology. It is who we are and how we live our values. We at IBI have benefitted from the welcome, generosity and insights of people on every c

Working an Ocean Away, From Home

This spring, IBI welcomed three new members to their team. I was lucky enough to be one of them. The current COVID-19 pandemic makes starting and supporting new positions complicated. IBI, however, has experience working in trying circumstances because of their development work during the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Liberia. They have used these experiences to create a welcoming environment even now, including a remote training program and built-in mentorship. Of course, there are still the usual stressors of starting a new job, now with a pandemic spin to these worries. I am not just concerned about logging into a new email account or learning how much to contribute during group meetings. I’m al

The SLO project’s approach to building capacity? Meet CSOs right where they are

The USAID-funded Strengthening Local Organizations (SLO) project, implemented by IBI, has reached the mid-way point of its second year. The project works to build the capacity of 10 Salvadoran CSOs spanning all stages of organizational development. And, in just a year-and-a-half, it has earned a reputation for providing the kind of high-caliber, individualized support that beneficiary CSOs had been seeking for years. “This is a gift,” said Ada Montano, director at the CSO FUNPRES, in a SLO stakeholders meeting. “Even if USAID has other, better-funded projects, this one may be among its most valuable.” How has SLO managed it? In two- and three-day workshops with each CSO, project staff admini

The SLO project is primed to adapt to El Salvador's COVID-19 lockdown

Despite the country’s best efforts, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit El Salvador as it has hit almost everywhere else. The IBI-implemented Strengthening Local Organizations (SLO) project has already felt the impact, having to cancel a half-dozen in-person workshops scheduled for March and early April for safety reasons. In these difficult times, however, SLO has an advantage: early on, the project created a “landing page”—a sort of clearing house for resources aimed at helping its beneficiary CSOs overcome challenges ranging from securing donor funding to handling a PR crisis. “[SLO’s landing page] is easy to use, even for people who are not used to this kind of technology,” Acción Ciudadana’s

Post-COVID Development – is it time to rethink the development paradigm?

France’s President Emmanuel Macron believes “the coronavirus pandemic will transform capitalism” and says that “it’s time to think the unthinkable”[1]. While this statement may seem extreme, it communicates a sense of urgency and a new reality we find ourselves in. For those of us involved in the delivery of foreign aid, is it also time to rethink the paradigm of development assistance? The current USAID development assistance model generally consists of commissioning a program management contractor, who develops a work plan against pre-set desired outcomes and engages US and international technical experts. These experts travel to the country, provide expert knowledge to either improve cap

IBI’s Response to COVID-19

The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant impact in countries around the world, which has resulted in new travel restrictions and policies. We here at IBI have first-hand knowledge of how to continue critical program activities in challenging situations like these. During the 2015 Ebola epidemic we managed our existing Liberia USAID-GEMS project, and starting up a new, State Department-funded Justice Administration and Management Support Project. Although we were operating in Monrovia at full capacity (while most other implementers shut down or curtailed their operations) things were not exactly normal. IBI implemented rigorous health and safety protocols and precautions desig

Pakistan Capacity Development Services (PCDS-SB) Activity Hosts a PFM Donor Coordination Meeting in

On February 27, representatives from USAID, the World Bank, DFID and GIZ participated in a Public Financial Management (PFM) donor coordination session facilitated by USAID PCDS-SB activity. The working group focused on identifying areas for collaboration and potential synergies. The meeting was one in a series of events designed to provide a forum for donor coordination and planning around PFM work in Pakistan.

Systems Approach to Building ICT Government Capability is Yielding Results in Liberia

Prior to support provided by USAID under Digital Liberia, each Government of Liberia entity pursued its own IT initiatives without coordination with others. The result was a splintered and duplicative set of systems that were wasteful and inefficient. Through the Digital Liberia activity, IBI supported a new CIO Council that convenes IT officials from across government to address this problem. The council has created government-wide standards and procedures for new IT systems. An intensive CIO training course was successfully completed by 46 government IT specialists in November 2019 as part of the comprehensive capacity building effort. The four-month training course taught the senior IT pr

IBI starts 2020 by implementing two new projects in Asia.

IBI is excited to announce that we are starting 2020 by implementing two new projects in Asia. Lao PDR - Laos Business Environment (LBE) IBI is implementing the USAID-funded Laos Business Environment (LBE) project, which is designed to support economic growth. This five-year project will support Lao PDR’s (Laos) economic reform agenda, and will strengthen government’s ability to respond to the needs of Laotian businesses, and improve the Laos business enabling environment. This approach will enable the private sector, and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), make a greater contribution to Laos’ economic growth, employment, and Laotian citizen income levels. The project has

IBI’s Board of Directors selects David Wall as its new CEO

IBI’s Board of Directors has selected David Wall as its new CEO, the lead executive role at the international development consulting firm. Mr. Wall started his new position on January 1, 2020. Mr. Wall takes over this role from David Colvin, who had served as IBI President and CEO since 2013. Mr. Colvin will assume the role of Senior Advisor and President of the Board of Directors, and will remain active in the company, focusing on technical assignments and business development. Mr. Wall, who brings more than 20 years’ experience in the international development sector, served as IBI’s Vice President for Strategy previous to assuming his new position. Prior to joining IBI, he was Senior V

Content Management System workshop in Liberia brings together IT experts and Public Relations Office

In continuation of its effort to help Liberian Government build sustainable nationwide ICT systems, the USAID/Digital Liberia and eGovernance activity supported the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MOPT) to conduct a two-day workshop in August on the use of a content management system (CMS.) The training was designed to improve the capacity of various ministries, agencies, and commissions (MACs), enabling them to publish and update information on their websites without the need to request IT assistance. To ensure local ownership, and as the initial step, Digital Liberia identified Libtelco application developer Nixon Flomo as the person best-positioned to lead the initiative and mot

Local Ownership and Technological Innovation Bring Change to Liberia

IBI, a woman-owned small business, has a long history of partnering with USAID and the Government of Liberia on building systems that can strengthen the country’s capacity to maintain steady growth and provide government services to its citizens, even through challenging times like the recent Ebola epidemic. One such initiative, which began under the USAID/Liberia Governance and Economic Management Support (GEMS) Project and continues under the USAID Digital Liberia and eGovernance activity, is the introduction of a digital asset management system. IBI has supported the GOL to identify the software that could serve as a government-wide system for asset tracking and management, communicate th

Using app technology to assess organizational capacity in El Salvador

The USAID/Strengthening Local Organizations Project (SLO), administered by IBI in El Salvador, aims to assess and improve the performance of civil society organizations (CSOs) in this country. As part of its methodology, SLO chose to use an app to make workshops and discussions more dynamic. The “Poll Everywhere” app creates and displays polls in an engaging, user-friendly way. It also allows participants to anonymously submit answers to questions through a mobile device. A workshop presenter, for example, can then review answers in real time, enabling deeper dialogue or more-effective consensus building. SLO has already put the app to good use in workshops, asking CSOs employees to rate the

Pensées Insolites: Trade Facilitation, It’s Not Ersatz Economics

In the first issue of Pensées Insolites I wrote about how the government of Bangladesh (GOB) is stepping up to the transparency requirements called for in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). With USAID’s support through its Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Activity (BTFA), the GOB has created a customs portal and a national enquiry point to promote transparency and good governance, and, ultimately, faster trade clearance, decreased trading costs, and greater prosperity. These are positive steps; the unanswered question is whether these and other attempts in trade facilitation have an impact. There was, in fact, a midterm performance evaluation of BTFA, re

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